How to Solve a Problem // Positively Speaking // Mark Wilson

1. Prevention: Try to handle the problem before it becomes a PROBLEM! Some good prevention questions:
a. If things keep going the way they are going now what will happen?
b. What changes must happen for things to work out well?
c. What “warning signs” am I receiving? Can I do anything about it?
d. Have I been neglecting something important?
e. Who thinks there is a problem? Why?

2. Analyze: What is the problem, really? Often, the real problem is much deeper than the surface issue. Look beyond the obvious and ask some searching questions:
a. If I boil this down to the bottom lone, what is the real issue at stake?
b. What is the foundational question I must ask?
c. How does the past inform the present? (What can I learn from yesterday?)
d. How did I get into this mess in the first place? (note – you cannot talk your way out of a problem you behaved your way into.)

3. Search Mode: There are more answers to every problem than first assumed. Look for multiple solutions to the problem. Think outside the box. Ask the following questions:
a. What are ten possible solutions to this difficulty?
b. How have other people dealt with similar situations?
c. What are the pro’s and con’s of each possible solution?
d. What does your intuition say?

4. Discernment: Choosing the best requires reflection and wisdom. People are often so busy dealing with life’s issues, that they do not pause to reflect on the deeper meanings. Step aside from the noise and ask the following questions:
a. What is the best path? (The good is often the enemy of the best.)
b. What is right and true? (Do not sacrifice moral values for convenience.)
c. What does the Bible say about this issue?
d. What do I sense when I pray about this?
e. How would the wisest person I know handle this situation?

5. Stay Alive: Don’t let the problem consume you. Troubles have a way of multiplying and robbing us of emotional and spiritual energy. We can refuse to allow the problems to take us hostage. Ask the following questions:
a. Am I allowing this problem to consume my thoughts and energy?
b. How can I keep enjoying life, even in the face of troubles?
c. What is going well? (Count your blessings!)
d. How can I bring joy to someone else today? (Serving others pulls us out of self pity.)

Remember This: I have a little sign in my office that simply says, “God is bigger than any problem I have!” Instead of telling God how big your problem is, tell your problem how big God is!!!

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